Triggering

I sat in the bathroom, my knees pulled to my chest and my head thrown back, staring at the ceiling. One hand was sticky with blood while the other held the red-handled scissors I never returned to Mara. My thigh stings from the four X’s I’d carved into my skin. I glance down to see the blood congealing over the freshly ripped skin. Now I have to purge. I have to cleanse myself of my dirty sins and redeem myself in the eyes of the Lord. And if I don’t, my family is in trouble. If I don’t scrub the toilet, the tub, the sink, my family will be punished for what I’ve done. I get up, leaving the scissors on the floor and grab the sponge. I soak the counter in cleaning solution and start to scrub away my sins and shortcomings. I’m leaving blood red smudges on where the counter is wet. I quickly wipe them away. I wipe away everything.

I cut today. After group, which was really nice, I was in the car, waiting for the stoplight to turn green when this overwhelming urge to cut hit me. I fought with it, struggled with the paranoia and fear that accompanied it, all the way home. But when I got home, I gave in. I couldn’t find the knife I normally use so I grabbed a pair of scissors and locked myself in the bathroom. I’m out of room on my arm (I only cut on my right side because I’m left-handed) so I did my thigh. It had to be sets of four so I carved four X’s into my upper thigh. Four X’s means eight actual cuts. There’s safety in even numbers, especially multiples of four. I have 16 cuts on my forearm. Again, 16 is a multiple of 4 so it’s safe. I have to protect my family. I had a deep discussion with Thomas about how Uncle Fish dying (the doctor told him he only had 6-18 months to live), Death is standing on the doorstep to the Burnetts’ residence. And I have nothing to prevent it. Something is stopping me from locking the door and keeping him out. I don’t know what to do. I can’t come to grips with the fact that I’m losing one of the best people in my entire life. I don’t know what this is going to do to the family, especially my dad. Daddy was always taught that men don’t cry so he bottles his emotions up. I worry that he’s becoming an alcoholic because he drinks every single day. Can you be an alcoholic if you don’t get drunk? He never really gets tipsy or anything so is he still considered an addict? I don’t want him curling up in a bottle if and when this happens. I’m so fucking scared. I feel guilty for cutting and I’m debating whether or not I’m supposed to tell my mom. I mean I know I’m supposed to but do I want to? I hate the disappointment and the anger that accompanies my telling her. Both my parents (even though Dad’s in Virginia; I talked to him on the phone) knew that something was up with me when they talked to me. I guess I’ve lost the master ability to hide my feelings. I don’t know. I don’t want to talk anymore.

Fear Itself

“Gone forever is the notion that the mentally ill person is an exception. It is now accepted that most people have, to some degree, mental illness at some time, and many of them have a mental illness most of the time.” -Karl Milligan

I was at a NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) tonight and someone mentioned this quote. Of course I wrote it down. I figured someone out there would benefit from knowing that people suffer as they do. I know I find comfort in it. When you’re depressed, you’re completely alone in the world. It’s like everyone has left you alone to be by yourself. Physically they’re still there but emotionally, mentally, that connection has disintegrated. Reaching out, for me, was the best thing I could do when I was depressed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still depressed now. I still identify as being mentally ill (hello, this blog is about my trials and tribulations with BPD, OCD, and depression, among other things!) even though I’m on the road to recovery. I’ve mentioned before that recovery scares the hell out of me which is why I still identify with depression and mental illness. That’s why I reached out. I go to NAMI meetings, I go to DBT group therapy and of course, I attend individual therapy with the fabulous Allister. But, I’m basically saying that you aren’t alone. That someone out there identifies with exactly what you’re feeling.

On another note, I have to go to Philadelphia tomorrow to have a tilt table test done. To receive ketamine infusions from my neurologist, I have to be cleared by a cardiologist and a psychiatrist. The cardiologist is for the potential heart palpitations ketamine can cause. The psychiatrist is for the hallucinations ketamine can bring on. I’m nervous about both tests. I’m not sure if the cardiology appointment involves a stress test but I’m not in any physical shape to perform a stress test. And if I don’t pass these tests there’s a chance I won’t receive the ketamine infusions. I’m not sure what I would do if I’m denied ketamine. My RSD has spread throughout my entire body. Earlier today, it was affecting my eyelids for God’s sake! I just can’t live in this kind of pain. I know for a fact that this sort of encompassing pain is making me very depressed. I can’t do anything. I’ve started on a quest to lose up to 100 pounds because I know my pain would lessen if I wasn’t as heavy as I am. But to do that, I have to exercise and exercise is next to impossible with pain. It’s a horrible cycle that I can’t seem to get out of. I’m just really nervous. I mean, what if they do reject me? What does that mean for me? I guess I can only expect the worst and hope for the best.

This Train is Bound for Glory

Thanksgiving break is officially over. The shopping season has officially begun. I spent this weekend with family in Virginia and, as usual, had a blast. My uncle Fish is sick with lung cancer and seeing him for the first time since his chemotherapy started was really rough. He looks so frail. I wasn’t sure I could handle it, and honestly I think I skirted away from my duties as his niece to spend time with him. I would sit with him for short periods of time but if I was there too long, tears would well up and my throat would get tight so I had to leave. Thomas was there with me the whole time and was pretty attentive. We discussed the mutual feeling of loss and grief that accompanied us spending time with Uncle Fish in the hotel pool. We also came up with a brilliant story that I plan on working on in segments but we’ll save that for a little while later. Every time the feeling would come, I would try and fight it off by thinking of something completely different. Our little story helped me do that. I just feel like this weekend was a waste when it comes to him. Uncle Fish probably doesn’t have a lot of time left on this Earth and I missed a perfectly good weekend with him because I’m a coward. I feel like I need to redeem myself but I don’t know how. And it’s eating me away inside. I know how hard this is for me, to lose an uncle that I love and respect, but I can only imagine how difficult it must be for him. Uncle Fish is relatively young and to have your health drain so quickly from you must’ve been devastating. I feel selfish to even consider my own feelings at a time like this but I guess I am selfish in a sense. I worry about what his death would do to this family. How would it alter the status quo and who would have the hardest time recovering from it? God will take care of all of us, including him but it’s really hard to trust someone when so much is at stake. I have a seriously hard time dealing with death, partially because it’s so permanent and I’m not sure how well I’ll recover from the loss of Uncle Fish. Then, of course, I feel guilty for even considering the fact that he might not get better. I mean, who am I to decide whether or not he can fight this? I’m so torn and confused. And I’m absolutely terrified to bring it up to Daddy because then we’ll have a deep, philosophical discussion about how no life is permanent. And that’ll lead me down the worrying path of what will happen when my parents die and how I’m the only thing standing between them and death at all times. Even talking about it now, I had to take a Risperdal to calm down. I get so hyped up about it. I don’t know how to stop. That’s another thing. Over the weekend, my compulsions were off the charts. I’m going to make a list of everything I do.

  1. Say the Lord’s Prayer whenever I see a dead animal (roadkill)
  2. Say the Lord’s Prayer while crossing a bridge if Daddy’s in the car (have to say it until the car is completely back on solid ground)
  3. Check the locks on the house/hotel room at least 4 times before going to bed
  4. Say the Lord’s Prayer whenever I see a funeral procession, ambulance, police car or fire truck
  5. Have to wash my hands in a particular way, scrubbing each area for at least 20 seconds
  6. Have to pump the soap at least 4 times for washing my hands
  7. Have to use 8 paper towels while drying my hands
  8. If someone does something nice for me, like holding open a door, I have to return the favor the first chance I get (i.e, letting someone cut me off in a parking lot to get in a line of cars)
  9. Lists have to be an even number
  10. I have to shower twice a day and wash my hair first

Okay, I think that just about covers the most common of my compulsions. I have more but some of them are situational so it’s not worth writing down. I went to Skye on Wednesday last week and we did a hypnosis session. She guided me through the process to help me stop picking my fingers. And I think it actually worked. I’ve picked a little bit since then but the time spent doing it has been drastically reduced. Except for right now. Right now, I’m really stressed about this whole situation. Uncle Fish, school, my own insecurities. Allister says the best way to treat OCD is to sit with the compulsions. To prove yourself wrong about something happening by not doing them and waiting to see the result. It’s really difficult though. Thomas got me an The OCD Workbook last year for Christmas; maybe it’s time for me to crack it open and have a peak. I agree with Allister. Taking my recovery seriously is difficult when subconsciously all I want to do is revert back to my old ways. I don’t mean to do it but I think part of me doesn’t want to get better. I’ve never met anyone who was better so how do I know it works? I mean, I was under the impression that this was a lifelong battle. That mental illness would mean trips to Sheppard Pratt on a semi-regular basis, therapy sessions at least once per week, psychiatrist visits at least once per month, and medications every single day. I thought I had come to grips with that situation. But considering myself to be healthy and recovered, well that just shakes up this rocky image I have of myself. Borderlines do not like change. In fact, we’ll do anything and everything in our power to prevent it. And we’re really good at that, I mean that’s where the manipulation comes in, right? How do I stop a train from reaching its destination when I’m on a completely different track? One train is headed towards recovery and health while the other, the one I’m on, is settling into a life of mental struggle. How do I deal with the fact that everyone wants me to jump the train and hop on another one? Aren’t they going to the same destination? And who’s waiting for me at the station? My parents? Allister? I don’t know how I would handle such a drastic change. I think that’s why I’m struggling so much with my OCD and depression. The OCD is very prevalent in my life right now and the depression is starting to creep back up. But it’s like Craig said, how do I know this is truly depression? What if this is just a weak attempt by my subconscious to throw me off course? I can’t make heads or tails of this situation. Ugh.

Socially-Induced Empowerment

Somehow I’ve managed to switch around the days I write. Normally, it’s Monday, Wednesday and Friday but this week it’s Tuesday and Thursday. I guess to make it even I’ll have to write on Saturday too. No big deal though, I enjoy talking to a keyboard while the computer screen eavesdrops. I don’t know if I mentioned it the other day but on Tuesday, Pete and Tasha from high school struck up a conversation on Facebook. I know what you’re thinking, any story that involves the words “high school” and “Facebook” in the first sentence is bound to end in disaster. Well no, that’s not necessarily true. See, Pete and Tasha were really close in high school. They even dated at one point. It wasn’t until Mara joined the conversation that things got a little shaky. All of us were especially close in 11th grade but when senior prom rolled around, things fell to pieces and for a few years, Mara didn’t want to talk to Pete at all. This conversation, as a result, was relatively surprising. And of course, I was mentioned. Pete tagged me in a comment, asking where I had been. If you’ve read this because I mentioned it in my last post, please forgive my redundancy. I debated the rest of the day about commenting back or not. Part of me felt like commenting back was inviting in trouble. The other part of me though, felt like this was my opportunity to stand up and assert myself as an entity separate from Mara. I even talked to Allister about it. And you know what I did when I got home from my appointment? I logged on to Facebook and commented back. I gave a general greeting to everyone; I didn’t single out Tasha, Pete or, Mara. It was liberating and scary at the same time. But I did it. This victory was etched in stone on Wednesday though. After Intro to Info Science (computer class), I parked in the Edgewood lot (all the buildings at my school are named after towns in the county) and went to Medical Assisting Fundamentals (boring class). After that, I did something a little out of the ordinary and walked with a girl from class all the way to the library. After the library, I went to Sociology. Ty and I wanted to go to get lunch so we had to walk back to the Edgewood lot to get the car. You know what I found inside? The key I’d given to Mara for when she drove the car without me. She had placed it neatly on the driver’s seat. She didn’t leave a note or anything but that key spoke volumes. I don’t know, it just made my heart skip a beat when I saw it sitting there. I’d completely forgot about it until I saw it but when I saw it, I knew what it meant. She’s relinquishing her hold on me. As I knew she would do, she refused to let it happen in the beginning. And I don’t mean to say that she fought against my decision to stop speaking to her. No, she let that happen pretty easily. Even though we stopped talking and seeing each other, she knew she still had her claws in me. I didn’t use Twitter or Facebook. I would totally avoid that side of town (we live on opposite sides of the elementary school that sits smack in the middle of our little truck stop of a town) and the area where she worked. I was constantly watching over my shoulder to avoid talking to or seeing her. I knew it was going to be work to regain my confidence but I also knew that she had some say in it. If she wanted to terrorize me, she could. She didn’t though, and now she’s releasing me even further still. I don’t like the fact that she has so much power over me but there’s nothing that can be done now. I was the one who gave her all this power so I have to face the consequences of my actions. I’m just worried that with the holidays coming and sunlight getting scarce, my depression is going to rear its ugly head. I’m already having trouble getting things done and staying on task so it’s only a matter of time. I spoke with Dr. Ordella who felt light therapy would be a good solution. She even wrote me a prescription to buy a special lamp. Who knew they made special lamps specifically for light therapy? I hadn’t even heard of it until she brought it up. I think with the semester ending, it’s scooting me a little closer to the end result and that scares the

I started this entry yesterday morning before an appointment with Skye, my reflexologist. Now, it’s Friday and I’m exhausted. I saw Breaking Dawn Part 2 with Ty and her friend (whose name I do not remember! I suck at names!). I have a good time though. The movie was amazing and all we did was talk and laugh the entire time we were waiting in line. I thought it was going to be really awkward because I didn’t know the girl but it wasn’t. I had this epic revelation this morning when I was driving in the car and now–oh! I remember! I was reading some of my old stories on a hard drive I forgot I had. Now that I know I have BPD, it’s really apparent in my writing. I think that is so odd. Like in one my stories, my character has this huge fear of abandonment and is desperate to keep his friend. He’ll do anything to make sure they stay friends. That’s the same kind of doubt I had, and still have to a certain degree. It’s just ridiculous how much easily this “illness” infiltrates your entire existence. While I was driving to school (late, mind you), I kept thinking about how easily I identified with my Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) but not my mental illness. Like, when I was told I had RSD, I was so willing to accept it and embrace it. When I was told I had BPD, depression, and OCD (not all at the same time), I was resistant and I fought it as much as I could. It’s just a little odd. But you know what, this is my journey and I’m getting there one step at a time.

“I Will Do What I Please!”

It’s been 2 weeks since I’ve written anything. That’s far too long. I usually write between Info Science and Sociology during the week but over the past 2 weeks, I’ve had something to do between classes so blogging was out of the question. But I’m back! I can’t say that I’m better but I’m definitely here now. I’m going through a little crisis of my own right now. I had a dream the other night that Mara and I crossed paths in a grocery store. She cornered me and, while physically pinning me down, started interrogating me as to why we weren’t friends anymore. It’s obvious that my subconscious is worried about an encounter, and that my conscience isn’t as clear as I’d like to think it is. I really feel like the only remedy to fix this is to talk to her. But that is like walking into a trap. I know that if I reinstate contact with her, even if for the briefest of moments, I’m setting myself up for failure. I’ve made it this far. I’ve made new friends and developed an identity that’s all my own. Do I really want to take 5 steps back when I’ve taken 6 steps forward? Then, Pete from high school commented on a photo of his and brought me into a conversation between him, Tasha and Mara. I talked with Allister and decided to reply to the comment. This was an opportunity to step up to the plate and face her. Of course, she hasn’t commented back (I didn’t expect her to) but I faced my fears and did it. I just hate how much control she still has over me. I’m pacing and biting my nails trying to make a simple decision about contacting her and it’s tearing me apart. There’s just so much at stake here. I could go back and try to develop a new relationship with her and risk falling into the same snare that brought me to this point in the first place. Or I could stay away, keep contact to a minimum and continue to progress in the way that I am. The decision seems obvious but there’s so much weighing on either choice. This is the same kind of crises I would face when I was with her. The only difference is that this time, I’m not struggling alone. I have the support of my parents, Allister and my new friends. As I was coming home from therapy today, the radio was playing Pink’s “One Last Kiss,” a song that happens to fit this situation to a T. Then, of course “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele came on. I never really listened to the song the way that I did tonight, but this time, it was like the radio was speaking to me. “Miss Me” by Andy Grammar came on after that and it was like a confirmation that I was making the right decision. I just hope the radio is right. I’ve just been so doubtful lately. Ever since my OCD flared up back in October, I’ve been praying a lot. It’s one of my compulsions. I say prayers in the morning, at night and at certain times during the day. It makes me feel better. It’s calming and it assures me that no matter what’s happening, someone is watching out for me and my loved ones. Sometimes, I don’t think having all the problems that I do is such a bad thing. Like I read somewhere that people with Borderline Personality Disorder are more in tune with what others are feeling or thinking because their own emotions are so extreme and strong. It makes sense. I’ve always been in expert in gauging when people are mad at me or when something’s bothering them. And depression can make you like that too. You develop a 6th sense for sadness and melancholy. Misery loves company, right? And the same goes for the OCD. My faith is so much stronger because of my anxiety and fear. That sounds weird but it’s true. Without my anxiety and fear, I wouldn’t have developed this new trusting relationship with God. I wouldn’t have come to the realization that He’s on my side no matter what, that He loves me through anything, and that I’m safe and protected as long as I’m in His sight. The Lord works in mysterious ways. I definitely think the main lesson to be learned from all of this is that I’m a stronger person because of it. Hindsight is 20/20 and I’m definitely seeing clearly. If I hadn’t experienced what I have then I wouldn’t be where I am today. Now, I can’t say I’ll be feeling the same way in two weeks but for now, I’m going to enjoy it.